MARIO Lemina has hinted he is open to leaving Saints - but admitted he is still happy to remain at St Mary's if he's wanted.

The Daily Echo reported this week that the south coast side would listen to sizable offers for the Gabonese international.

There had been rumours that Serie A side Atalanta wanted to take Lemina on loan but Saints aren't interested in letting him leave on a temporary basis.

And speaking to Foot Mercato, the former Juventus player said: 

"Today, I am at Southampton, I still have another 3 years of contract.

"But it is true that I do not rule out the possibility of seeing something else. 

"The last 4 months have not been easy for me, with my injury. The coach put his team together. I want to start afresh. So why not leave?

"We have very good discussions with the club. We are in agreement.

"If I don’t feel good in this project, I can leave. Otherwise, the club is counting on me, there is no problem.

"They are giving me the opportunity to be able to go elsewhere."

Lemina joined Saints from Juventus in August 2017 for around £15m which was a club-record fee at the time.

During his two-year spell at the Allianz Stadium, the 25-year-old helped them complete a back-to-back domestic double.

This success caught the attention from a number of English clubs, with being persuaded to join Saints by former boss Claude Puel.

The midfielder made his debut shortly after arriving at St Mary’s in the 3-2 win at West Brom at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

Since then, he has gone on to make a further 48 appearances for Saints in all competitions.

Lemina started the previous campaign under Mark Hughes and then maintained his place in the team when Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge last December.

But the central midfielder suffered an abdomen injury at the end of that month which would rule him out for four months.

He needed surgery to resolve the issue and remained out of action until making his comeback against Newcastle in April, with him also netting a consolation goal at St James’ Park.

Lemina will travel to Austria tomorrow with the rest of the squad to continue their preparations for the upcoming season, but he admitted his team are looking at other possibilities for him.

He added: “We are working on it with my agents, we are not putting ourselves under any pressure.

“We are waiting truly for the best project, the best offer. We look at it day by day.

“For the moment, I am at Southampton and I am working the best I can to be the best possible form.”